For us, 2014 was the year without winter in Dillingham, Bristol Bay, and most of Alaska. There was no snow and the winter was an eternal spring. No, it never happens, and everyone kept thinking that the wind, cold, and snow would arrive but it never did. I guess Alaska’s winter passed its time in the Lower 48’s Midwest and East. No mosquitoes and never-ending sunshine made fishing the Nushagak like a vacation in Hawaii in 2014. We didn’t get but a couple cloudy days the entire season.
The lack of snow caused low river levels, warm water, and the fish to run early. The kings showed up in early May with the first Kings caught in Subsistence nets the first week of May (Normally a late May to early June event). The subsistence nets were full of 30- and 40-pound kings by the first week of June. The sonar fish counting station was not open until mid-June, so the total number of kings that ran will never be known but the locals had never seen so many huge kings fill their nets.
The fishing early season was among the best we have seen in the middle June time frame, with 60 per boat many days. Big kings, in big numbers, in beautiful sunny weather, what a blast. Though big fish were caught all season, late June saw the most 40-plus-pounders landed and that normally happens in July. We were catching sockeye in June and so many char it became a common and daily event. By early July the fishing slowed, and July, which is normally our better fishing for the large kings, was slower by Nushagak standards but still better than any other river anywhere. Everyone continued filling their tags and releasing plenty of fish to spawn, but it was not what we were used to the Nushagak producing.
Based on the incredible spawn numbers from the years of 2011 and 2012 the next couple of seasons should be phenomenal years for fishing on the Nushagak.
We hope you can join us in 2015.
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